Aiyana Cortez


Aiyana Cortez - 2024 NLC Sacramento Fellow

Aiyana Cortez (she/her) is a health equity advocate, serving as a legislative aide for Senator Ben Allen advising on health, housing, and human services policy. Her advocacy journey began as a US Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia, where she successfully advocated for organizational policy reforms to support volunteer health. During her graduate studies, Aiyana co-founded a social equity partnership between faculty and students and reformed student advising practices. Transitioning into statewide policy, she worked with the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine in the Governor's Office on social determinants of health projects. As a 2023 CCST Science Fellow, Aiyana consulted on housing and homelessness legislation for the Senate Housing Committee. She holds a PhD in Biophysics from UC Davis and earned a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and teaching credentials in Biology from CSU Long Beach. Beyond her policy work, Aiyana enjoys bachata dancing, tabletop gaming, and recipe experimentation.